When buying yourself an iced tea maker, the first decision won't be about brands or pricing but whether you'd like your potential investment to be electric and automatic or compact and manual. If you have a smaller kitchen and don't want another electric appliance to take care of, you might think that manual iced tea makers are the cheaper and obvious choice. However, while the manual varieties seem lower-maintenance than electric gadgets, they require a bit more diligence on your part.
The biggest inconvenience comes down to the fact that you have to manually control the temperature and steep timing of your water every single time you make iced tea with hot water — whether it's by regular brewing and icing or flash-chilling. You'll also need to manually time and remove the infuser to prevent over-steeping. While these two extra considerations to temperature and timing might not seem like a lot, the inconvenience of it adds up over time — especially if you're making iced tea on a frequent and regular basis.
Manual Iced Tea Makers Trade Convenience For Versatility
Iced tea lovers who'd rather have on-demand access to a cold and refreshing glass will probably find that the hands-off convenience of an electric iced tea maker is a worthwhile investment of money and counter space. However, there is one crucial advantage that manual iced tea makers have over the automatic kinds: Their compact and portable nature makes them perfect vessels for cold-brewing batches of iced tea.
Expert iced tea aficionados will already know that, to elevate your iced tea, you should always be brewing it cold. While slower, cold brewing results in a much smoother flavor free of that tannin-loaded astringency you'll taste in iced tea brewed with hot water. It also circumvents possible cloudiness in your iced tea by eliminating the temperature issue altogether. If you're more prone to cold brewing iced tea ahead of time and don't mind the extra time it takes, manual iced tea makers are the way to go — just make sure to do your research on the best models on the market. A great place to start is by looking at the specs for popular models like the Flavor It and The Big Iced Tea Maker from Primula, the Takeya Flash Chill, or the Ovalware Cold Brew maker. Remembering that you'll have to clean out your infuser every time, picking a dishwasher-safe model that fits your needs will go a long way to simplifying your tea-time cleanup.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.